Learning is a strategic orientation that many organisations don’t apply. Most organisations think that they employ the right person with the right skill. At best they might invest in sending them on a course to learn new skills that can be applied within the organisation.

But learning orientation is not that. Learning orientation means that your organisation is committed to learning, they are open-minded and believe in a shared vision.

Firstly, commitment to learning is the value shared by your employees that requires them to develop an understanding for the causes and effects of their actions. The organisation basically agrees that its ability to learn is the key to its competitive advantage. It is one of the values of the organisation and it is the key to improvement. For learning organisations, employee learning is an investment, not an expense. It is a key commodity that is necessary to guarantee the survival of the organisation.

Secondly, learning organisations are open-minded. They regularly prompt their employees to use this understanding to challenge outdated and flawed mental models, to seek improved ways of doing things, and explore external collaborative opportunities as part of enhancing competencies to achieve competitive advantage. They are not afraid to reflect critically on the shared assumptions they have made about their customers, they continuously question their perception about the marketplace and they collectively question their biases about the way they interpret customer information.

Thirdly learning organisations empower each employee to take ownership of its goals and values which reflects their beliefs. Shared vision gives employees a sense of purpose and direction that enables them to agree upon, and respond to, market information processing and other activities for learning. There exists commonality of purpose, total agreement of the vision across all levels, functions and divisions. And all employees are committed to the goals of the organisation.

Finally, learning is built on the premise of neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity means the brain’s ability to modify, change, and adapt both structure and function in response to experience, throughout life. Learning modifies and changes brain structure and function. And as individuals in organisations learn, so does the organisation. 

Learning organisations are structured and powerful. How learning orientated is your organisation?

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